GFWC Publications

Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute? The Scientific Evidence

(2009-10-22) This research paper determines whether physical and ecological changes that result from tar sands industrial activities are detectable. The findings conclude that: present levels of some contaminants pose an ecosystem or human health risk, the effects of which deserve immediate and systematic study; projected tripling of tar sands activities over the next decade may result in unacceptably large and unforeseen impacts to biodiversity, ecosystem function, and public health, and; the attention of the world's scientific community is urgently needed. As published in The Open Conservation Biology Journal, 2009, 3, 65-81.

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Bitumen and Biocarbon: Land Use Conversions and Loss of Biological Carbon Due to Bitumen Operations in the Boreal Forests of Alberta, Canada

(2009-09-27) A report that provides estimates of land use changes, biological carbon content and consequent potential greenhouse emissions due to existing and future surface mining and in situ extraction of bitumen in Alberta, Canada. The paper reveals that significant amounts of greenhouse gases are emitted through the disturbance and/or removal of biocarbon (trees, shrubs, peats), which overlay Alberta's oil sands. These emissions have not previously been measured nor reported by governments and industry.

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Conservation Priorities for the Lower Athabasca Planning Region, Alberta

(2009-07-08) GFWC prepared this report under the direction of five environmental organizations, in support of the Government of Alberta's direction in the Terms of Reference for the Regional Advisory Council of the Lower Athabasca Plan in Alberta. The report records the methods used to identify sites of high conservation priority and presents a map of conservation priority areas in the Lower Athabasca land-use planning region.

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Recent Anthropogenic Changes within the Forest Landscapes of Nova Scotia

(2009-06-25) A report of Nova Scotia's forest landscapes that reveals the dramatic pace and scale of recent human-caused changes due to industrial activities in recent decades. GFWC examined old and new satellite images for almost the entire area of Nova Scotia and combined what we saw with existing information in order to map the industrial-caused changes, primarily logging, that have occurred throughout much of the province, from approximately 1990-2007. The resulting maps and analyses paint a stark picture of industry's impacts.

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The Last Great Intact Forest Landscapes of Canada: Atlas of Alberta (Parts I & II)

(2009-04-02) This 2-part atlas was published in the hope that it will assist Albertans in their efforts to sustainably manage their important forest legacy; its production was triggered by the Alberta Government's release of Alberta's Land-use Framework in December 2008. The atlas reveals a dramatic reduction in large blocks of Alberta's natural boreal forest landscapes due to the expansion of industrial activities in recent decades. Part I of the atlas provides context and maps of Alberta's intact forest landscapes; Part II focuses on the threats to these forests.

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Urban Sprawl and Other Major Land Use Conversions in Ontario's Greenbelt From 1993 to 2007: A Change Analysis Project Using Satellite Imagery

(2008-07-02) The Ontario Greenbelt presents both opportunities and challenges for managing growth and retaining natural areas and key agricultural production lands. This report contributed to a larger project (by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Greenbelt foundation) around analyzing key ecosystem values in Ontario's Greenbelt.

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Recent Anthropogenic Changes within the Inland Temperate Rainforest of Southeastern British Columbia: Interim Report

(2008-06-02) A results summary for a survey of human disturbances in BC's Inland Temperate Rainforest. The study was undertaken using satellite imagery for the approximate period of 1989 to 2001. This is an interim report as we had planned to perform additional verification of the results.

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Recent Anthropogenic Changes within the Boreal Forests of Ontario and Their Potential Impacts on Woodland Caribou

(2007-03-27) This stage of GFWC's "Where's the Best of What's Left?" project involved identifying all disturbances to Ontario's Boreal that were caused by industry in the 1990s and early 2000s. The potential impacts of these disturbances on woodland caribou habitat were also considered in this analysis.

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1990-2006 Anthropogenic Changes within the Pascagama Site in Québec's Boreal Forest: Summary of Results

(2007-02-16) The summary results of an up-to-date survey of human disturbances in the Pascagama region of the Boreal region in Québec, which reveals many recent impacts caused by logging and associated roads. The study was undertaken using satellite imagery over the period of 1990 to 2006.
Published in English and French!

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Recent Anthropogenic Changes within the Boreal Plains Ecozone of Saskatchewan and Manitoba

(2006-05-05) This report and accompanying materials share the interim results of the second stage of our initial change analysis project. Satellite images from different dates (~1990 and ~2000) for the Boreal Plains Ecozone in Saskatchewan and Manitoba were compared using a differencing algorithm so that we could assess where recent forest disturbances have occurred.

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